NY Gives Illegals Worker Rights, Overtime

From a joyous Associated Press:

NY governor signs domestic worker rights bill

August 31, 2010

ALBANY, N.Y. — New York Gov. David Paterson has signed into law the nation’s first extensive domestic workers’ rights measure, saying it corrects historic injustices.

Now if only Mr. Paterson could correct the historic injustice of these people living here illegally and getting all of our country’s benefits without paying any of the costs.

The law will guarantee overtime pay for domestic workers, as well as time off and protections against sexual harassment.

There are an estimated 200,000 domestic workers in New York City. An advocacy groups [sic] claims there are frequent reports of spoken or physical abuse by employers, and two-thirds of the workers said they never received overtime pay…

Would it be cynical to wonder just how they will enforce this new law?

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AP: Unlikely 2 Men Were Plotting Terrorism

From the always quick to defend Associated Press:

AP source: Unlikely that 2 men plotting terror

By Eileen Sullivan, Associated Press Writer
August 31, 2010

WASHINGTON – The FBI probe of two men arrested in Amsterdam after suspicious items turned up in one of the men’s luggage is finding they were probably not on a test run for a future terror attack, a U.S. official said Tuesday, casting doubt on earlier suggestions even as Dutch authorities held the pair on suspicion of conspiring to commit a terrorist act.

The U.S. does not expect to charge the men, a law enforcement official said. The two men arrested in Amsterdam — both traveling to Yemen — did not know each other and were not traveling together, a U.S.

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Muslim GI To Al-Jazeera: I Won’t Deploy

From Al Jazeera, via MEMRI:


Muslim US Serviceman Nasser Abdo Talks to Al-Jazeera TV about His Refusal to Deploy to Afghanistan

Muslim U.S. Serviceman Nasser Abdo Talks to Al-Jazeera TV from Fort Campbell about His Refusal to Deploy to Afghanistan

August 31, 2010

Following are excerpts from an Al-Jazeera TV report about Muslim U.S. soldier Nasser Abdo, who has refused to be deployed to Afghanistan. The report aired on August 21, 2010, and included clips of Abdo praying in his home while wearing his Army camouflage uniform. According to the report, his wife in Canada runs a website to raise money for Abdo’s legal campaign, and he has retained a lawyer.

"This Muslim Soldier is Refusing to be Sent with His Unit because … as a Muslim He is Forbidden to Kill Muslims"

We certainly have seen a lot of proof of this.

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Wall Street Feels Betrayed By Elite Obama

From an outraged New York Times:

Why Wall St. Is Deserting Obama

By ANDREW ROSS SORKIN
August 30, 2010

Daniel S. Loeb, the hedge fund manager, was one of Barack Obama’s biggest backers in the 2008 presidential campaign…

So it came as quite a surprise on Friday, when Mr. Loeb sent a letter to his investors that sounded as if he were preparing to join Glenn Beck in Washington over the weekend.

Boy, has Mr. Beck gotten under their collective skin.

“As every student of American history knows, this country’s core founding principles included nonpunitive taxation, constitutionally guaranteed protections against persecution of the minority and an inexorable right of self-determination,” he wrote. “Washington has taken actions over the past months, like the Goldman suit that seem designed to fracture the populace by pulling capital and power from the hands of some and putting it in the hands of others.”

Over the weekend, the letter, with quotations from Thomas Jefferson, Ronald Reagan and President Obama, was forwarded around the circles of the moneyed elite, from the Hamptons to Silicon Valley.

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Gallup: GOP Takes Historic 10-Point Lead

From a gobsmacked Gallup:

GOP Takes Unprecedented 10-Point Lead on Generic Ballot

Republicans also maintain wide gap in enthusiasm about voting

by Frank Newport
August 30, 2010

PRINCETON, NJ — Republicans lead by 51% to 41% among registered voters in Gallup weekly tracking of 2010 congressional voting preferences. The 10-percentage-point lead is the GOP’s largest so far this year and is its largest in Gallup’s history of tracking the midterm generic ballot for Congress.

These results are based on aggregated data from registered voters surveyed Aug. 23-29 as part of Gallup Daily tracking. This marks the fifth week in a row in which Republicans have held an advantage over Democrats — one that has ranged between 3 and 10 points.

The Republican leads of 6, 7, and 10 points this month are all higher than any previous midterm Republican advantage in Gallup’s history of tracking the generic ballot, which dates to 1942.

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Dem Rep. Gave Scholarships To Relatives

From the Dallas Morning News:

Rep. Eddie Bernice Johnson violated rules, steered scholarships to relatives

By TODD J. GILLMAN and CHRISTY HOPPE / The Dallas Morning News
Monday, August 30, 2010

Longtime Dallas congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson has awarded thousands of dollars in college scholarships to four relatives and a top aide’s two children since 2005, using foundation funds set aside for black lawmakers’ causes.

The recipients were ineligible under anti-nepotism rules of the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, which provided the money. And all of the awards violated a foundation requirement that scholarship winners live or study in a caucus member’s district.

Johnson, a Democrat, denied any favoritism when asked about the scholarships last week. Two days later, she acknowledged in a statement released by her office that she had violated the rules but said she had done so "unknowingly" and would work with the foundation to "rectify the financial situation."

Initially, she said, "I recognized the names when I saw them.

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Rauf: Islam = Declaration Of Independence

The latest musing from the ‘Imam’ behind the Ground Zero Mosque, via Abu Dhabi’s National Newspaper:

There is no struggle between Islam and America, imam says

Kareem Shaheen
August 30. 2010

ABU DHABI // The imam behind a controversial plan to build an interfaith centre near the site of the 9/11 attacks in New York said yesterday that there was no struggle between Islam and America, or between religions, but between moderates and radicals.

Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf said opposition to the project was being led by a “tiny, vociferous minority” but he trusted the wisdom of Americans to act in the spirit of the US constitution.

So nearly 70% of Americans is now a “tiny, vociferous minority”?

In an interview with The National, Imam Feisal emphasized the silver lining uncovered in the furore as leaders of all faiths have come out in support of the project.

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BP Blames Engineers For Misreading Data

From Bloomberg:

BP Said to Fault Own Engineers for Misinterpreting Well Data

By Joe Carroll – Aug 30, 2010

BP Plc’s internal investigation of the Deepwater Horizon rig disaster pins some of the blame on the company for mistakes made when finishing the oil well, including misreading pressure data that indicated a blowout was imminent, according to a person familiar with the report.

BP managers aboard the Transocean Ltd.-owned rig misinterpreted a test of the Macondo well’s stability on April 20, deciding the test confirmed the well was in good shape, said the person, who spoke on condition of anonymity because the report’s findings haven’t been publicly released.

So how could more strict government regulation and oversight have prevented the misreading of data?

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Iran Discovered 13 Oil Fields In Last Year

From Iran’s Press TV:

Iran discovers 13 oil fields in 1 year

Mon Aug 30, 2010

Iran has discovered 13 new oil and gas fields with in-place reserves of 14 billion barrels of oil and 45 trillion cubic feet of natural gas within the past 12 months.

The Islamic Republic has also exported around 2,200,600 barrels of oil per day in the past year, according to a report published on the Oil Ministry’s SHANA news agency.

The report added that Iran’s revenue from oil exports during the past year reached $69.1 billion.

Lest we forget, there are still no sanctions on Iran’s oil export industry.

Earlier this year, National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) director of exploration Mahmoud Mohaddes announced plans to explore new reserves of 500 million barrels of oil and 5 trillion cubic feet of gas per year during a five year plan…

No moratoriums for them.

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Iran Brands Sarkozy’s Wife A ‘Prostitute’

From Pakistan’s Daily Times:

Iran media brands Sarkozy’s wife as ‘prostitute’

August 30, 2010

PARIS: Carla Bruni-Sarkozy has been branded a ‘prostitute’ by Iran after she publicly attacked the country for threatening to stone a woman to death.

France’s First Lady is part of a campaign to save the life of Sakineh Mohammadi-Ashtiani, a 43-year-old mother of two.

Ms Bruni-Sarkozy, who became President Nicolas Sarkozy’s third wife two years ago, has signed a petition calling for Sakineh’s release. Last week the former supermodel said: ‘I just can’t see what good could come out of this macabre ceremony, whatever the judicial reasons put forward to justify it.’

But Kayhan (which means ‘Universe’ in English), the Iranian daily newspaper which acts as a mouthpiece for the country’s regime, has now accused 42-year-old Ms Bruni-Sarkozy of being a hypocrite.

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AP: US Wasted Billions In Rebuilding Iraq

From a suddenly concerned about government waste Associated Press:

AP Impact: U.S. wasted billions in rebuilding Iraq

By Kim Gamel, Associated Press Writer Mon Aug 30, 2010

KHAN BANI SAAD, Iraq – A $40 million prison sits in the desert north of Baghdad, empty. A $165 million children’s hospital goes unused in the south. A $100 million waste water treatment system in Fallujah has cost three times more than projected, yet sewage still runs through the streets.

As the U.S. draws down in Iraq, it is leaving behind hundreds of abandoned or incomplete projects. More than $5 billion in U.S. taxpayer funds has been wasted on these projects — more than 10 percent of the $53.7 billion the US has spent on reconstruction in Iraq, according to audits from a U.S.

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OC No Longer GOP – Thanks To Diversity

From a cheering New York Times:

Orange County Is No Longer Nixon Country

By ADAM NAGOURNEY
August 29, 2010

SANTA ANA, Calif. — Orange County has been a national symbol of conservatism for more than 50 years: birthplace of President Richard M. Nixon and home to John Wayne, a bastion for the John Birch Society, a land of orange groves and affluence, the region of California where Republican presidential candidates could always count on a friendly audience.

But this iconic county of 3.1 million people passed something of a milestone in June. The percentage of registered Republican voters dropped to 43 percent, the lowest level in 70 years…

At the end of 2009, nearly 45 percent of the county’s residents spoke a language other than English at home, according to county officials.

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El-Gamal Owes NYC $224K In Back Taxes

From the New York Post:

Mosque big owes 224G tax

By ISABEL VINCENT and MELISSA KLEIN
August 29, 2010

The mosque developers are tax deadbeats.

Sharif El-Gamal, the leading organizer behind the mosque and community center near Ground Zero, owes $224,270.77 in back property tax on the site, city records show.

El-Gamal’s company, 45 Park Place Partners, failed to pay its half-yearly bills in January and July, according to the city Finance Department.

Imagine being able to skip paying tax for a year. And then having the city try to help you finance your next purchase.

The delinquency is a possible violation of El-Gamal’s lease with Con Edison, which owns half of the proposed building site on Park Place. El-Gamal owns the other half but must pay taxes on the entire parcel.

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‘Landlord’ Rauf Has History Of Complaints

From northern New Jersey’s (Bergen) Record:

Ground Zero Imam has history of tenant troubles; N.J. apartments in need of repair

BY PETER J. SAMPSON AND JEAN RIMBACH
Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Muslim cleric at the center of the proposed mosque and community center near Ground Zero is also a New Jersey landlord who got more than $2 million in public financing to renovate low-income apartments and has been beset for years by tenant complaints and financial problems.

Imam Feisal A. Rauf won support for his Hudson County projects from powerful politicians, among them Robert C. Janiszewski, the disgraced former county executive. He also was awarded grants from Union City when U.S. Sen. Bob Menendez was mayor….

Rauf forged ties with Fred Daibes, the prominent waterfront developer and bank chairman.

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Mosque Man El-Gamal Has Long Rap Sheet

From the New York Daily News:

Park51 developer Sharif El-Gamal has a history of run-ins with the law

BY James Fanelli   
Saturday, August 28th 2010

Years before his latest real-estate project ignited an uproar, Sharif El-Gamal racked up at least seven run-ins with the law, including a bust for patronizing a prostitute…

His most recent arrest was for a Sept. 10, 2005, assault on a barber who sublet a Manhattan apartment from El-Gamal’s brother, Sammy.

The brothers and another man went to the apartment that afternoon to retrieve back rent from Mark Vassiliev, criminal and civil court records show.

El-Gamal allegedly cursed at Vassiliev, called him the Arabic curse word "sharmouta" and punched him in the face, breaking his nose and cheekbones.

When he was arrested, El-Gamal denied he socked Vassiliev, but conceded, "[Vassiliev’s] face could have run into my hand," court papers say

He was charged with misdemeanor assault and harassment.

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